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Chapter 1: What's New in Windows 2000When Microsoft changed the name of Windows NT 5 to Windows 2000, they were making a point: There are many profound new features and improvements in Windows 2000.
Some of the features, such as improvements in the NTFS file system, have been on the Microsoft drawing board since the early 1990s. Some, like the reassignment of tasks from various program folders to the Control Panel, bring Windows 2000 more in line with the user interface of Windows 98. But spend a few minutes with Windows 2000 and there's no mistaking that much has changed.
Improvements in Installing NT
The installation of Windows 2000 has been improved for both upgrades and new installations. Administrators of large networks will find powerful tools for flexible remote installations across the LAN. Users of Windows NT 3.51, Windows NT 4, Windows 95, and Windows 98 will be able to upgrade their installations and preserve system settings.
Windows NT 4 was able to upgrade existing installations of earlier Windows NT versions, but could only overwrite or avoid existing Windows 95 or Windows 98 installations. And Windows 2000 now recognizes FAT32 partitions, which Windows 98 and some versions of Windows 95 support for large and more efficient partitions.
Some Windows 95 and Windows 98 applications require modifications or upgrades in order to operate under Windows NT or Windows 2000. During the upgrade to Windows 2000 you will have the option of providing "upgrade packs" for these applications. You can get these from the application vendor.
Windows 2000 supports dual-boot with Windows 95, Windows 98, and other operating systems, but there are numerousproblems with specific configurations, and the considerations in planning such a setup are complex. See Chapters 2 and 3 for a complete explanation of installing Windows 2000.
When Microsoft designed the Win32 programming model many years ago, it failed to provide a standardized software installation facility. This error has finally been rectified in Windows 2000 with the new Windows Installer service. According to Microsoft, the Installer service will eventually be provided as a service pack to Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4.
Prior to Windows Installer, applications needed to manage all aspects of installation on their own. Microsoft has always provided guidelines for software installation, such as using the Program Files directory and checking file versions for common files, but these guidelines couldn't account for all system configurations, and not everyone (including Microsoft) followed them consistently.
With the Windows Installer service, program installations all follow a consistent set of rules implemented in the service. Old setup programs will continue to work as they did before. New programs, in order to use the Installer service, need to write a program description file in Windows Installer format. Windows Installer takes this file and does the rest of the work.
Windows Update Manager
Users of Windows 95 and 98 with Internet Explorer 4 are able to update individual components of the operating system over the Internet, directly from Microsoft's Web site, using the Windows Update process. Windows NT users have had to check for service packs and the numerous "hot fixes" on Microsoft's FTP site.
Now Windows 2000 has the same Windows Update process, run through the Windows Update Manager. A Web-based interface lists all the components for which new versions are available and lets you choose which you want to perform. These can include Microsoft components, such as updates to Internet Explorer, and thirdparty components.
Windows Update (see Figure 1-1) is also available as part of the Plug and Play process: When you install a new device, you can select a number of locations from which to install device support software that includes Windows Update.
The Windows 2000 user interface is very similar to the Windows NT 4 user interface with Internet Explorer 5.0 installed, but there are some differences. There are reorganizations of items and enhancements in the behavior of the software. Windows users shouldn't have much trouble finding their way around, although the behavior of the software has changed enough that you may find it confusing at times.
Things Have Moved
For years Windows NT has spread administrative features across a number of locations, including the Control Panel, the Administrative programs, and the Accessories program groups. Microsoft has consolidated most of these in the Control Panel, partly for consolidation's sake itself, and partly to make the interface more consistent with that of Windows 98.
As with earlier versions of Windows, there's usually more than one way to access a program; for instance, you can access the System Properties program in the Control Panel or by right-clicking on My Computer and selecting Properties. Other things are slightly different, too. Network Neighborhood, for example, has been replaced by "My Network Places." And there are some new programs, such as the new Disk Defragmenter, and new tasks such as Quota management for disks, which allow you to limit the amount of disk space available to particular users. The behavior of Windows Explorer has changed, too (see Figure 1-2).
After playing around with Windows 2000, you'll also notice some minor features not available in other versions of Windows. For example, you can now drag most of the special folders from your desktop to the Start Menu, and their contents will cascade off the Start Menu for easy access. This works for My Computer, My Network Places, My Documents, and the Control Panel, as well as some third-party products.
See Chapters 5, 6, and 9 for further discussion of the Windows 2000 desktop.
Internet Explorer 5
Windows NT 4 still comes out of the box with Internet Explorer 2.0, although service packs will upgrade it to more modern versions. Windows 2000 comes with Internet Explorer 5, freeing applications to assume the availability of rich and modern Web-based capabilities.
Internet Explorer 5 improves many aspects of browsing (see Figure 1-3). You now have the ability to Show Related Links, improve management of the Favorites and Links features, and the management of relevant network parameters (such as proxy server settings) integrated into the browser. Internet Explorer 5 also upgrades the Outlook Express mail program to version 5.0 and adds some enhancements to the Windows user interface, such as the Quick Launch bar (to the right of the Start button).
Content Indexing Service
Microsoft Index Server has been extended into a system-wide service for indexing content. It works with Active Directory (see the "Networking" section) and other services to index data in file systems and Web sites, and then find, use, and exchange that information...